### Here do we see the breathtaking art of folding a paper

#### ORIGAMI UNPLUGGED BY DR. SEEMIN RUBAB

Origami (Ori-folding, gami –paper) is the traditional Japanese art of paper folding. Using just square sheets of paper, a variety of three dimensional objects are formed.  It is the art of creating a structure by folding a single sheet of paper according to a pattern without cutting. Its educational value specially teaching geometry  and algebra through origami is undisputed. Some of the origami patterns are geometric, and they make it possible to see geometry in the principles of origami.  However people generally associate origami with children and stuffs like airplane, boats, pinwheel and other such toys. It has become popular as a hobby for adults in recent years. Very few people know that these days, origami concepts are used in advanced technical designs as well. There is now research on applying paper-folding techniques to engineering in a field dubbed as "origami engineering."  Engineers these days are using these ancient oriental techniques to help solve some of the world's great challenges. Applications include the use of origami in collapsible packaging to help in recycling processes, folding mechanisms for use in the deployment of satellites and telescopes and origami structures for use in nano-technology and medical diagnostics.
The Japan Society for Industrial and Applied Mathematics has set up a research group called Mathematics of Origami Engineering. An example of origami engineering can be found in aluminum cans that have geometric indentations on the surface, giving the light cans a strong structure. Another is the spiraled sides of some plastic bottles, which make them easy to crush after use. The Miura-ori or Miura-fold is famous for map folding. It was conceived by University of Tokyo Professor Emeritus Miura Koryo. The Miura-ori allows a square piece of paper to be folded in such a way that it can be opened in one motion by pulling at two opposite corners. It is also used for folding up the antennas of satellites before they are launched. This technique allows an antenna to be unfolded simply by pulling on opposite diagonal corners. The antenna can be collapsed again simply by pushing on the opposite diagonal corners.  Japanese scientists used Miura-ori to pack and deploy a solar power array in the research vessel called Space Flight Unit. On Earth, the solar array was folded into a compact parallelogram, and then in space, it was expanded into a solar sail.
Scientists from the University of California have made an ultrathin, high-resolution Origami Lens. The lens is very thin and is 7 times more powerful that conventional camera lenses. Typically, camera lenses use many parts to bend and focus light. The Origami Lens replaces the many parts of a conventional camera lens with one optical system which makes the lens thinner. The Origami Lens is made of a crystal which is diamond-cut so that the light travels in a zig-zag manner analogous to the way paper is pleated in origami.  Thus the lens itself is not folded, but the optical path is folded. The concept is known as optigami-the folding of light path.
In order to study galaxies and astronomical events that are far away, a large space telescope is needed. However, giant telescopes cannot be shipped into space due to the size constraints of rockets and shuttles. Physicist turned origami consultant, Robert Lang designed a method for folding a space telescope so that it can be packed into a space shuttle and then easily deployed in space. The foldable telescopic lens is called “Eyeglass”.  Initially a telescopic lens measuring over 3 meters in diameter was constructed. When folded origami style, it was 1.2 meter in diameter and shaped like a cylinder. Then a 5 meter prototype lens was constructed and shown to concentrate light as expected. In the future, it may be possible to fold 100-meter telescope lenses into 3 meter diameter cylinders and have these delivered into space - all thanks to origami.
Researchers from the University of Oxford developed an origami stent which may be used to enlarge clogged arteries and veins. A stent is a tube which can be collapsed into a smaller size. The water bomb base from origami was used to design the origami stent. Using a balloon catheter, the stent is maneuvered through the patient’s veins/arteries to the clot site. When the balloon is inflated, the stent is expanded to a larger diameter, thereby opening the vein/artery for better blood flow. Depending on the application, the tissue may grow over the stent and it remains in the patient permanently.
In the future, origami structural modeling is expected to be applied in such fields as collision safety engineering (air bags and crumple zones in car) interior noise control and heat shielding. Buildings, car bodies, and furniture are among the objects likely to feature origami-inspired structures as this field develops. It is no wonder that Origami is part of every technical festival these days. Several research groups are working on unraveling the origami structures found in nature such as growth of leaves and wings of insects. These structures when understood can be used in futuristic designs.

(Dr. Seemin Rubab is AP, Physics, NIT Srinagar. Feedback at ask_rubab@yahoo.co.in)

### Lastupdate on : Mon, 7 May 2012 21:30:00 Makkah time Lastupdate on : Mon, 7 May 2012 18:30:00 GMT Lastupdate on : Tue, 8 May 2012 00:00:00 IST

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